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Nets’ Big 3 drama could have hinged on Spencer Dinwiddie injury

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Spencer Dinwiddie is deep into the conference finals after pouring in 30 points in Game 7 of the semis.

But those postseason heroics are coming for the Mavericks while the Nets – the team that traded Dinwiddie away in August – are left with a cautionary tale of what happens when a supposed superteam goes awry. The Nets are long gone from the playoffs, swept away by the Celtics nearly 4 weeks ago.

Dinwiddie, together with Joe Harris, was certainly one of the last vestiges of general manager Sean Marks’ first full-season roster from 2016-17. The combo guard had been a part of the Nets’ arduous climb from the NBA cellar right into a team that backed up superstar free agents Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving with balance, defense and depth.

Then on Dec. 27, 2020, in only the third game of Durant and Irving sharing the court, Dinwiddie tore his ACL. Lower than three weeks later, the Nets dumped their roster depth for James Harden and the dreams of a Big 3. It set in motion every little thing that’s happened since: the shortage of depth to survive Irving’s absences this season; the trade Harden forced out of town; the arrival of Ben Simmons, who hasn’t played since.

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